|This photo encapsulates the problems of Wheat Harvest 2014: mechanical issues, mud and weeds. But it's a pretty sky, right?|
Ya got trouble,
Right here in River City!
With a capital "T"
And that rhymes with "P"
In the musical, the "P" stands for "pool." A shyster band instrument salesman is attempting to line his pockets when he tells mothers that the boys of River City are frittering away their time in the billards hall instead of striking up a band. That's not what any self-respecting mother wants to hear, so, of course, they line up to purchase instruments from the con man.
(My brother was The Music Man in Pratt High School's version of the musical years ago. I was only a little bit jealous that he got to star in one of the world's favorite musicals, when I don't even remember the name of my junior-class play. I do remember my famous line, "Oh woe is me! Oh lack-a-day!" Yeah, that's kind of how I feel about The Music Man vs. the I-can't-remember-the-play-for-the-life-of-me play.)
ANYWAY, as I stood at the corner south of our house on Saturday, the sound track of my mind played that song, even if I couldn't remember all the words until I pulled it up on YouTube.
The truck was nearly blocking the east-west road, with its tail-end perched in the weedy ditch. It was dead, no matter how much ether Randy sprayed into it while I turned the key and pumped the gas and prayed that it wouldn't blow up.
I volunteered to stay with the truck while he went to grab some tools. Randy looked at me and said, "I think they'll see it."
Yesterday, as Randy was trying to finish up in a field that had been too muddy on Saturday, the combine's air conditioner went out. He toughed it out, but ended up sweltering in a closed cab on the 100-degree afternoon. He got half of it cut, but the rest was still too muddy.
kept getting rains that kept us out of the field for more than a week.
Because the wheat was so sparse, the rain also gave a boost to weeds. We weren't the only ones who ended up leaving some wheat behind in weeds, especially by the edges of the fields. (We did spray a few fields for weeds. However, that's an additional expense for a less-than-bumper crop. And you have to wait a week after spraying to harvest.)
Last year, we had the best harvest we'd ever had, despite planting into dust and several late freezes. For harvest 2013, our overall yield average was 52.7 bushels per acre. Our highest yielding field was 76 bushels per acre, and our lowest was 32 bushels per acre on ground that is primarily used for hunting by the landlord.
For Wheat Harvest 2014, our best wheat made 35 bushels per acre, and that was on summer-fallowed ground. The lowest yield was 8.5 bushels per acre, again on that less productive ground.
A farmer is an eternal optimist, though that may be hard to remember when the truck is blocking the road or the combine is blowing only hot air into the cab. When it's time to plant wheat in September, Randy will pull into each field, hoping and praying for the best. And we'll see what Wheat Harvest 2015 will bring.